Commentary

Give Up Home Internet Or Pay TV, But Still Pay The Media Piper

Want to believe TV is still the dominant entertainment media that people just can't live without? A research report says people are cutting Internet service at twice the rate as pay TV service.

To be fair, we are talking about small numbers. The report suggests 1% of those with home Internet dropped their service, while 0.4% of those with a pay TV package cut that cord.

The average home Internet monthly cost is nearly $50. Pay TV averages $100 or more.

What does this mean? Mobile plays a big part. Consumers who have a smartphone or tablet with WiFi connection -- and don't use the Internet a lot beyond email and checking bank accounts -- may not need home Internet that connects to more permanent devices like laptops, desktops, or evens smart TVs.

Consumer spending in this recovery has been uneven at best, with the latest monthly estimates lower than in previous periods. Entertainment purchases probably aren't a major factor here like gasoline prices.

Still, this says something about discretionary entertainment income. When push comes to shove -- or more like a kick -- people have no problem keeping what they think really matters.

To be fair, it's is not like they’re giving up much. They can still have pay TV and  smartphones or other smart devices. Perhaps some are looking to be more efficient -- as well as playing into the hands of those who have predicted that the mobile media/entertainment marketplace is the future.

We have seen activity going the other direction, of course: cutting pay TV service and keeping monthly home internet by those figuring they can get all the TV/video they need from the likes of YouTube, Hulu, or Netflix. Then again, they can wind up paying for extra digital video services.

Any cord-cutting these days can be symbolic at best. Big media/TV distributors have figured out ways around it. Most have both pay TV and home Internet businesses, as well as home phone services, to sell.

So all this may sound somewhat dramatic to the interested parties involved. But in the end, consumers are still paying the media piper -- cut one, and you are most likely keeping another.

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